I remember listening to the radio announcement about Ayrton Senna’s crash and being shocked and saddened because he was such a thrilling driver. One of my friends at the time was an F1 fan so we’d pay attention to what was happening between him and Alain Prost even though sports coverage wasn’t anything like as accessible as it is today.
The documentary Senna is really fascinating as you see a sport changing from being about driver ability to becoming the video game it is today. The cars were so simple in comparison to this year’s line up and the rules were being written and rewritten to suit Ferrari, unlike….. oh, wait.
The film maker manages to portray both sides of Senna’s character; the fiercely competitive driver who would be ruthless in pursuit of his goal and the relaxed playboy who was generous to charities and deeply serious about his faith.
The progression of his career and his rise to the front of the grid is handled with typical tension and atmospheric background music but it’s the roar of an engine that creates the adrenalin and emotion for the viewer.
The final few minutes of Senna’s life tick by with sickening apprehension. The death of Roland Ratzenberger in qualifying the previous day fails to sufficiently alter the destiny of a man who was already unsettled by his new car, his recent performances and some haunting sense of his own mortality.